Thursday, November 11, 1999

Cannon Club site is
excess land, Army says

By Gregg K. Kakesako


The Army has declared the last remaining portion of Fort Ruger -- a choice 7.65-acre parcel which once housed the Cannon Club -- as excess property, making it available to be returned to the state.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye said once the General Services Administration agrees with the Army's assessment, the land on the slopes of Diamond Head can be conveyed to the state for $450,000.

The Cannon Club closed on June 1, 1997, because it was losing money after being in business for 52 years.

The state has eyed the parcel, valued at $10 million, as part of the Diamond Head State Monument.

Initial plans for the Diamond Head State Monument call for a visitor center where the Cannon Club is now located, with parking for people who would walk into the crater or take a tram.

At one time, the Army controlled more than 700 acres in the area. It established Fort Ruger on Jan. 27, 1906, on Diamond Head's slopes and inside the extinct volcano crater as a sea-coast artillery post. The officer's club was opened in 1945.

An 18,000-square-foot banquet pavilion and open dining area were added in 1982 to a dining room and cocktail lounge.

When the Army closed the club in 1997, it hoped to find a private contractor to run food and beverage operations, which would have been open to the public. But those plans never materialized.

The Territory of Hawaii received most of the land in 1955 to house Hawaii National Guard activities.

Kapiolani Community College now sits on land that used to be the site of the Hawaii National Guard's headquarters.

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